Week 176: Athens and Nafplio with the family

A rare week with the family all together.

Week 176: Athens and Nafplio with the family
Karina, Ella, Inge, Jasper and me under the Acropolis.

This week has been all about family! For the first time since Christmas 2019, four years ago, we spent more than a week with all of us together, which has been wonderful.

We enjoyed settling into Athens with Jasper and preparing for Ella and Inge to arrive on New Year's Eve, which they did without any hiccups (beyond a slight delay of an hour). It's a pleasant relief from some of the flight horror stories we've had the last year.

New Year's Eve was spent catching up in our apartment, watching the fireworks from the window and eating oliebollen, a Dutch tradition from Karina's family, which we've celebrated whenever we are together. They are somewhat similar to a doughnut mixture, deep fried, then eaten hot and rolled in icing sugar.

The time has been spent playing games (on the TV with our phones as a remote using Jackbox Party Games that Jasper set up, which is a lot of fun), watching some movies, playing games, chatting and walking and, exploring and eating in Athens.

Acropolis from Lycabettus Hill

We walked around the Acropolis, enjoying the stunning weather we're having (about 18C and sunny most days). We visited The Clumsies cocktail bar (a novel new experience; the kids didn't/couldn't drink with us last time we were together) and walked to the top of Lycabettus Hill.

On Friday, we hired a car and drove to Nafplio. An excellent chance to get out of the city after four days to find some new things to see. We stopped at the Corinth Canal, visited Mycenae and then spent two nights at an apartment in the centre of Nafplio.

One highlight of Nafplio is the castle at the top of the hill, which you get to by climbing up 220 metres and 897 steps. Karina has never wanted to do it with me in the past, but Inge was willing so up we went. I'm not sure if it was worse going up or coming down. I think my knees will take a day or two to forgive me, but the views were spectacular.

There's also an old fort in the middle of the harbour that's previously been closed for renovation, so we took a boat ride to look at that, too. Interestingly, up until the 1960s, it was a hotel! Every other time we've been here it was covered in scaffolding, so it's great to see it finished.

Amongst all the joy, there was also some sad news during the week. A highlight of our first season on Matilda was getting to know Markus and Isa on Tara. We spent a lot of time with them, and they taught us many things about living aboard and how to do so successfully. It was Isa who told us something like, "Just because you live on a boat doesn't mean you can't leave it to go on holiday elsewhere." They feature frequently in my book Footloose - we have a lot of shared memories.

We've stayed in touch over the last two seasons, including spending the summer with Isa in Bavaria last year. This season, we were near each other but could never quite make the connection work (mostly because we were in Türkiye while they were in Greece), and then Isa had to head home for some medical tests around October.

Unfortunately, her breast cancer recurred and progressed rapidly; she passed on the 29th of December, surrounded by her family. We miss her and think of her and Markus often. There have been a few moments like this recently, which make us reflect that life can, as in this instance, be far too short. Like Isa, we hope to continue to make the most of our opportunities and never be afraid to get out there and say yes to things.

Our condolences to all her family and friends; from the short time we knew her, we see she was a very caring and much-loved member of her community. Farewell and safe seas, Isa.

Our week ahead is enjoying the last few days with the kids before they head back home to Edinburgh and Tokyo, then returning to Mytilini and Matilda to do some boat jobs. Coming up in February, we’ll be back in the UK for two house sits for the majority of the month.

Until next time,

Tim & Karina